Brew news

Boulder County breweries feel the churn

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Mossdeep Brewing Co.
Carlisle Momberger

Over on Boulder’s north side, the taproom nestled between auto repair shops has a new tenant, one for fans of Bruce Sanderson and 20-sided die: Mossdeep Brewing Co.

The space comes with a little history: In 2016, Zach Nichols established 1001 Lee Hill Drive as a watering hole when he left Sanitas Brewing Co. to open Cellar West Artisan Ales behind Boulder’s now-defunct strip club. Two years later, Nichols relocated Cellar West to Lafayette (778-B W. Baseline Road), and Adam Kandle, of VisionQuest Brewery and the adjacent Boulder Fermentation Supply, took over the taproom in spring 2019. Kandle wanted a new place to experiment with yeasts without worrying about infecting his usual VisionQuest brews, so a second location seemed like a good idea at the time. But it’s time-consuming to run a business, let alone three, and as of July 2020, Kandle is letting Hunter Momberger and Scott Weiland take over 1001 Lee Hill Drive for their brewery: Mossdeep.

To visit Mossdeep right now is to see a brewery in transition. The space is small to begin with, but construction and COVID-19 regulations have trimmed that even more. The sign on the door still says Adamant — his beers are also on tap — and they’re currently building a large walk-in cooler in the taproom. It’s ambitious, but so is their plan: A D&D-esque world with Mossdeep as the hub. Their brewery logo is a shield with four sections for four graphics: Flowering hop cones, golden barley stalks, a mug of beer and a map (Carlisle Momberger does the artwork). The map relates to the world-building story of Mossdeep, a story Momberger and Weiland will one day expand in greater detail on the taproom wall. Future can art will also incorporate clues and puzzles, not to mention plenty of chances to interact with like-minded beer drinkers, maybe even don a costume or two.

But all of that will have to wait for a post-COVID world. In the meantime, you can visit Mossdeep and try one of six beers, three of which you shouldn’t miss: Kombeercha, a surprisingly quaffable blend of two-parts sour beer, one-part kombucha; Saison, mellow and bready; and New Zealand IPA. That one has a nose of lemongrass and an underlying smooth herbal freshness. Drinking it is kind of like walking on a bale of fresh-cut hay. I’m sure you can relate.

All are on the small-batch side, so get to Mossdeep sooner rather than later — although there was an ESB waiting in the wings as of Aug. 28. When was the last time you had a good ESB? Mossdeep’s open Thursday through Sunday, for both in-house drinking and to-go sales.

Westbound & Down comes to town

Mossdeep isn’t the only brewery taking over pre-existing Boulder County space: Later this year, the award-winning Westbound & Down Brewing Company out of Idaho Springs will be taking over Endo Brewing Company’s spot at 2755 Dagny Way in Lafayette.

As Westbound & Down’s Eric Schmidt tells BW in an email, the move to Lafayette is on hold due to uncertainty in the lending world, while the Idaho Springs brewpub is currently operating under COVID safety guidelines. Like the rest, the brewery’s had to pivot to packaging, which exceeded its 2020 goals five months in, and requires another location to accommodate demand. And, as Schmidt says, “Purchasing an established brewery also meant that we weren’t further saturating a market, rather building on what was already existing.

“The team at Endo has been extremely gracious and helpful with the transition, and we look forward to keeping beer culture alive in the space,” Schmidt says. Once it’s up and running, Westbound & Down will offer beer on-site and to-go with a brewpub model “not far behind.” Production-wise, the goal is 3-4,000 barrels per year.